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Story #58

Elvis had a library of approximately 250 books at Graceland, most pertaining to religion or to the occult. Some of the books were...

01. The Bible

02. The Face Of Jesus - Frank O. Adams

03. The Prophet - Kahlil Gibran

04. Autobiography Of A Yogi - Paramahansa Yogananda

05. The Secret Teachings Of All Ages - Manly P. Hall.

06. Sun Signs - Linda Goodman

07. Cheiro's Book Of Numbers

08. The Masters - Anne Besant

09. Only Love - Sri Daya Mata

10. The Infinite Way - Joel Goldsmith

11. The Secret Doctrine - Helena P. Blavatsky

Elvis carried two trunks full of books whenever he traveled. Many of the titles were suggested to Elvis by Larry Geller. After Colonel Tom Parker finally broke Geller's influece on Elvis, those two trunks and their contents were burned. Some of those who encouraged Elvis to read were actress Donna Douglas, martial-arts instructor Ed Parker, columnist May Mann, and mentor Larry Geller. Martial-arts instructor Kang Rhee encouraged Elvis to read books on the martial arts.

Story #59

Elvis called Schilling Lincoln-Mercury early one morning in 1974 and told him to prepare the showroom for him. He told the dealer, Percy Kidd, that he would be down in 20 minutes. Elvis was in a gift giving mood and wanted to buy Lincoln Continental Mark IV cars for his friends. When the entourage arrived at the dealership, Elvis told each man to choose his favorite car. He bought seven cars that day. When he was told the price, he wrote out a check and never bothered to verify anything with the dealer. When the men got back to Graceland with their new cars, Vernon asked Elvis for the receipt. After looking it over, Vernon yelled at his son. He had paid full price and tax for every car. Vernon told him to go back and get some kind of discount for buying so many cars at once. When Elvis told Kidd that he demanded a discount for buying seven cars, the man turned him down. He stated that the deal was done and it was too late for a discount. Kidd knew that Elvis could afford to pay full price without a discount, and he also knew that he would get a bigger commission that way. Escorted by police, Elvis returned to the dealership at 3:00 PM to return the cars. The dealer was stunned. Because of his greed, he'd just lost a very big sale. Later, Elvis went to Foxgate Lincoln where he bought the same seven cars - with a $1,500 discount. When dealer Dewayne Curtis was unable to locate the color cars that Elvis was interested in, he called Percy Kidd and made a secret deal for Elvis. Schilling Lincoln-Mercury owned Foxgate Lincoln!

Story #60

As Told By... GEORGE KLEIN - Elvis never lost his will to live; he loved life. He enjoyed the tours. But he was putting on weight and he knew that he didn't look his best; plus the fact that you can't be good every night - there's no possible way. He was only human. Elvis, when he'd be feeling sick, he'd have to go out and perform in front of fifteen thousand people. Only when he was deathly sick or just flat on his back would he cancel. He went on the stage many times sick as a dog, with a bad cold or the flu or a sore throat. He hated to disappoint his fans. He loved those fans.

LARRY STRICKLAND - To me he was just a real simple kind of guy. I mean, he was always Elvis; he didn't act like "Elvis." He was very down to earth. He had a very normal side to him. There was a part in the show where he liked to sing low on a couple of songs. He would drop down an octave, and it was my job to match tones with him and sing along with him, fill it out down there. Basically, if nobody looked at me, they would think that Elvis was singing those low notes. We got to where we could do it right together. He would never have had to let the audience know that it wasn't really him; but every night after our song, Elvis would walk over and point to me to let people know that it wasn't really him singing that low. He could have just gone right on and people would never have known. I think he truly, honestly loved the music and really loved anybody that had any musical talent.

BEN WEISMAN - Elvis invited me to come to one of those parties, you know, the last evening of the season [in Las Vegas]. I went upstairs and I kind of sat there real quiet. I'm not much of a party guy. Around maybe six o'clock in the morning he waved to me to come over. He said, "Ben, why are you so quiet?" I said, "I haven't got much to say". He said, "How many songs did I record of yours?" I said, "Fifty-seven". He said, "Fifty-seven!" He grabbed me, stood me up in front of the crowd, and said, "I want you all to meet Ben Weisman who wrote more songs for me than any other writer: fifty-seven. I want to hear it for this man." There was a big applause, then he took me over to the piano. He said, "Ben, I want you to hear this song. It's called 'Softly as I Leave You'. It's about a man who's going to die". That was in 1976, a year or so before he died. Something wasn't exactly right. I think he knew it.

Story #61

As Told By... EDDIE FADAL - Elvis felt guilty whenever he disappointed his fans. He really loved them, and if you worked for him and you insulted his fans, that's one thing that could get you fired.

MYRNA SMITH - Elvis was easily angered due to the drugs he was taking. All the guys got fired at some point or another, but they were usually re-hired - just like Red and Sonny probably would have been. It wasn't that they were permanently gone. He would have called 'em back. They were his friends. I saw him angry a couple of times. When he heard about the book Red and Sonny and the other guy was writing he was angry, but he was really more hurt. He didn't want Lisa to read that stuff. They say their intent was to ultimately help him, but he said he felt betrayed.

LARRY GELLER - We found out about the book [Elvis, What Happened ?] in the fall of 1976. It blew Elvis away. Man, I can't tell you the pain it created. This was a sensational (and controversial) major blast of an icon. Months later Elvis dismissed it. He thought maybe it was not going to actually come out - maybe this was just denial. But I knew it was coming out; we all knew.

BILL E. BURK - Red has said that shortly after the firing he and Elvis had a telephone conversation, and Elvis expressed disappointment that the book was coming out. Elvis knew what was going to be in it, but he never did say, "Don't print it". He just expressed his disappointment. Near the end of the phone call Elvis told Red, "Do what you've got to do."

LINDA THOMPSON - One day I said to myself, "I could be around here forever, and I could grow old, or I could die an untimely death from exhaustion just trying to take care of this person. Ultimately it's up to him. He's the one that's going to have to take care of himself. I can't do it for him". So I finally decided, "I don't want to live this kind of life for the rest of my life".

GEORGE KLEIN - I don't think Elvis really knew how sick he was. I don't think anybody knew. We knew he wasn't in the greatest of health, but we had no earthly idea that he was as sick as he was.

Story #62

On the day that Elvis Presley died, it was rumored that RCA Records was planning to file bankruptcy. For several months, the company had been having financial difficulties and it seemed there was no way out of the growing sea of red ink. It has been said by insiders that the executives were actually on their way to court to file the final papers when they received the phone call informing them of Elvis Presley's death. Company executives went digging trough their files and unearthed a $2.5 million dollar insurance policy on Elvis. With that money, RCA was able to pay off some of their debts and managed to stay in business. A few days later, the company received record orders totaling over $4 million - just in Elvis Presley records! RCA shredded the bankruptcy paperwork. In the course of that year, they earned $25 million.

Frank Sinatra was performing at the Alpine Music Theater in East Troy, Wisconsin, in late August of 1977. During the last half of his show, Sinatra sang some of the more popular Elvis tunes and said to the audience, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've lost a friend. We've lost a good friend today! Good-bye, Elvis!" He then asked everyone for a moment of silence in which to remember the late, great King of Rock-n-Roll.

As many people may know, when Elvis died his father suffered a massive heart attack. It was reportedly his second heart attack. Vernon was shocked and completely devastated by the loss of his only son. He was now all alone in the world. In August 1978, one painful year after Elvis' death, Vernon ordered a special floral arrangement for his son's grave. The message on the red ribbon read, "It's been one year since you left us, Son. It's almost unbelievable still. Miss you terribly. I love you so much - Daddy". Vernon set out for the Meditation Gardens to put the arrangement on Elvis' grave. He used a walking stick and took baby steps to get outside. He was determined to pay his respect to his son even though it was painful for him to walk. After placing the flowers on Elvis' grave, Vernon cried bitter tears. He never thought that he would outlive his son. Vernon knelt down beside the grave, holding onto the railing surrounding the grave for support, and cried sorrowfully. He then slowly got up and staggered back inside the house. He knew that his son was indeed gone - gone forever.